Storytelling, cats & infographics

Back in the spring Helen was thinking about ways to raise the profile of the library. As a result of a 3am light bulb moment she came into work with infographics on her mind. Co-incidentally Jane had also been looking into this method of communicating information in a gorgeous and eye-catching manner. We got quite excited – posted on SLLG blog

In recognition of #librariesweek, Reader Services Librarian Helen Robinson and I co-wrote a wee post for the SLLG. However, I am so proud of our infographics, I want to post about them here too.

We started talking about this project in the spring sometime. It was wonderful serendipity that I had been noticing and thinking about infographics just when Helen saw them as an opportunity to market and raise awareness of our Library services, and of the staff who provide them. When she mentioned her idea to me I immediately jumped at the chance to get involved. I relish any opportunity to get to know new bits of software.

Staff are at the heart of the Advocates Library

Staff are at the heart of the Advocates Library

I looked at a few infographic sites but settled on piktochart.com because that platform offers excellent functionality and an impressively large amount of content for free (more is available with a subscription). Piktochart has a variety of pretty templates but, because my ‘story’ ideas are very specific, I like to start with a blank page and build up from scratch.

I have been having an indecently large amount of fun working on this project. I get to utilise my creativity as well as my technical skills. Also, I spend a few hours playing happily while producing something of legitimate value to my job. Although the presentation is always lighthearted and upbeat, I like to include something slightly daft in each one. To my utter joy, even the inclusion of a spurious cat one month was accepted as an obvious and integral part of the overall scheme. Incidentally, that infographic has probably been the best received (a not just because of the cat).

The industry driving our Enquiry Service

The industry driving our Enquiry Service

I particularly enjoy joining and layering the icons provided by piktochart to create bespoke shapes. I love that I can edit most icons to fit my custom colour schemes – and I adore my wee enquiry-train! (it took 8 separate parts to make that – and 3 for the pipe/tunnel!)

We’ve received very positive responses to this infographic series – certainly more than I’d expect if we’d circulated the data in purely text form. I hope that I get to play… that we continue to utilise infographics for a good while longer.

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The course of true love never did run smooth…

Here’s another one of these amazingly in-depth book titles from my ‘dusty old book project’

The virtuous milk-maid’s garland, containing a choice collection of new songs. I. Giving an Account how a ’squire fell in Love with a young Milk-Maid, with an Account of the ’squire and the Milk-Maid’s walking in the Field together; shewing the ’squire’s Rudeness, and what happen’d after. II. How the Milk-Maid left him for dead in the Fields, by a Wound she gave him with his Sword for his Lewdness: After his Wound was drest and no Danger appeared, he sent for the Milk-Maid and commended her for what she had done; and set the Day he would marry her, which was done to both their Satisfactions, …

[Newcastle upon Tyne?, s.n., 1765?]

And the winner is… The sad history of the Faculty Mummy

Once upon a time, a long time ago (660-330 BC, to be slightly more precise) a man lived, died and was mummified in ‘late period’ Egypt. Sadly that is all we currently know about this person, but death was only the beginning of his story…

WordPress annual stats declared this to be my most popular post of 2015. I thought I’d celebrate by posting it again! Click here to read the whole story

A briefe chronicle…

I’m currently involved in a project that requires me to check holdings against the English Short Title Catalogue. I’m finding some amusement among the titles of these old works.

Today’s first category is: Most ambitious title in an original monograph. And the winner is…

A briefe chronicle, of the successe of times, from the creation of the world, to this instant· Containing, the originall & liues of our ancient fore-fathers, before and after the Floude, as also, of all the monarchs, emperours, kinges, popes, kingdomes, common-weales, estates and gouernments, in most nations of this worlde: and how in alteration, or succession, they haue continued to this day. by Anthony Munday,

Printed by W. Iaggard, printer to the Honourable Citty of London, and are to be sold at his house in Barbican, 1611.

…and in the category Most exposition crammed into one title, the winner is:

Monro his expedition vvith the vvorthy Scots Regiment (called Mac-Keyes Regiment) levied in August 1626. by Sr. Donald Mac-Key Lord Rhees, colonell for his Majesties service of Denmark, and reduced after the Battaile of Nerling, to one company in September 1634. at Wormes in the Paltz. Discharged in severall duties and observations of service; first under the magnanimous King of Denmark, during his warres against the Emperour; afterward, under the invincible King of Sweden, during his Majesties life time; and since, under the Directour Generall, the Rex-chancellor Oxensterne and his generalls. Collected and gathered together at spare-houres, by Colonell Robert Monro … for the use of all worthie cavaliers favouring the laudable profession of armes. To which is annexed the abridgement of exercise, and divers practicall observations, for the younger officer his consideration; ending with the souldiers meditations going on service. by Robert Monro

Printed by William Iones in Red-Crosse streete, 1637.

…and finally. For Title most likely to encourage readers towards sin rather than away from it, today’s winner is, most definitely:

Histrio-mastix. The players scourge, or, actors tragædie, divided into two parts. Wherein it is largely evidenced, by divers arguments, by the concurring authorities and resolutions of sundry texts of Scripture; … That popular stage-playes … are sinfull, heathenish, lewde, ungodly spectacles, and most pernicious corruptions; condemned in all ages, as intolerable mischiefes to churches, to republickes, to the manners, mindes, and soules of men. And that the profession of play-poets, of stage players; together with the penning, acting, and frequenting of stage-playes, are unlawfull, infamous and misbeseeming Christians. All pretences to the contrary are here likewise fully answered; and the unlawfulnes of acting of beholding academicall enterludes, briefly discussed; besides sundry other particulars concerning dancing, dicing, health-drinking, &c. of which the table will informe you. By William Prynne, an vtter-barrester of Lincolnes Inne. by Prynne, William

Printed by E. A[llde]. [Thomas Cotes, Augustine Mathewes,] and W[illiam]. I[ones]. for Michael Sparke, and are to be sold at the Blue Bible, in Greene Arbour, in little Old Bayly, 1633.

New logo – new look

I’ve been working on a new look for the SWOP Forum site (and experimenting with polling)

SWOP Forum

The Business Committee has decided, for a number of reasons, to change the SWOP logo to something simpler and cleaner. Due to the relative starkness of the new logo I felt it necessary to change the theme of this website at the same time.

The theme I originally chose was called, aptly enough, ‘Plane’:

SWOP - Plane theme blog theme – Plane

At Wednesday’s meeting I received some useful feedback on this theme. The two main points were: the banner is far too large (which is true – the screen is really just made of banner); and the menu bar is almost unnoticeable up at the top of the screen. Following this I’ve been investigating new themes today. I tried out a few before settling on this one. It’s called Sequential:

SWOP - Sequential theme blog theme – Sequential

I really like this. It’s clean and unfussy, elegant and professional. It echoes the simplicity of the new logo but has a…

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RLS music recital – a final mention

The RLS recital got a mention in the Faculty News this month (with a picture!). I’m the wee nervous looking one in the middle…

Faculty News - February 2015

Faculty News – February 2015

A Very Fine Library is now on Tumblr…

… if you’re into that sort of thing…

I’m liking the vintage paperback stylee I chose for the page. And there are certainly many pretty pics to look at over there.

Does anyone else use Tumblr regularly? What are your thoughts on the platform?